News From the Helm, Side Issue

News number one, being the main news: my dear friend and classmate Ilona took a leap of faith (just like I did half a year ago), and on the other side the SAS Presidential scholarship awaited her. So yes, Ilona is going on the Spring 2014 voyage (and I’m already damn jealous). What can I say? I’m proud of her and of myself, and the news made me genuinely happy.

News number two – Stephanie, one of my documentary characters, finally got out of the quarantine the other day, and she had stories to tell. Firstly, hand sanitizer, Pepto and bug repellents do not secure your well-being in Morocco; she caught some infection and spent a couple of days locked in her room. Secondly, and this story is much more interesting, it turned out that SAS insurance does not cover the on-ship expenses. Meaning, if you get sick on the ship, you gotta pay out of your pocket, and the prices are pretty damn high. Why on Earth would you need a “full medical insurance”, if it doesn’t apply to the ship, where you spend most of your time? The medical staff also for some reason decided that if Stephanie had fever, she should stay in the room with maximum A/C and no blankets (but this is the other story, I wouldn’t have tolerated that no matter how shitty I felt – lots of experience with Russian doctors). So god forbid anyone getting sick on the ship. I mean, god forbid anyone getting sick anywhere, but especially on the ship, where the only other option than the shipboard clinic is cooling oneself in the salty ocean waves (joke detected).
News number three: the shipboard Jewish group has finally started its Sabbath dinners, and it was fun to take part in it, with the freshly-baked bread and wine that tasted a lot like my grandma’s cranberry vodka. What else?
Life goes on. The guys are jamming in the Union, and the gals are stretching on the floor nearby. The days are getting hot and humid. The nights don’t cool as much. Studying is a form of leisure; it keeps your mind occupied. I like it. For the first time in many years.
People saw flying fish, whales and dolphins today; yours faithfully missed it all, as usual. Besides, during the day the sun seems to burn right through your skin, and that is one of these moments when you really want to stay inside.
Jack, Ryan and Romy are really killing it with the drum set, guitar and a grand piano right now. The music fills the air. And they’re good at it! Gotta love this ship.
The closer we get to the middle of the voyage, the more tense I become at the thought. I knew it would be like that, I could foresee it even before I stepped aboard. It’s actually pretty scary, you know – to realize that’s really it, the last year of school, the opportunities are… Endless? Ending?
I like being here, in the middle of this little unique community, and I wish time could stretch like that bubble-gum back from the childhood. Okay, no more whining.
This music is beautiful.

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